Now that the functioning of populist governments has been dissected, two of its central elements stand out: political polarization and the construction of an alternate reality, existing only in the discourse and mind of the leader and his followers: post-truth. Both phenomena weaken and can destroy democracy. Serious.
Democracy is the best political mechanism to deal with differences and conflicting interests, since it supposes tolerance, respect for the rights of all, inclusive dialogue and adherence to the law as methods to process conflicts. In this way, differences and plurality end up providing a greater wealth of points of view and, therefore, better solutions. Manichean polarization, which divides society into good and bad, mounts intolerance, cancels dialogue and little by little is denying the rights of the other party, which is not listened to as it is considered an enemy. Polarization excludes and impoverishes politics.
Post-truth is even more harmful, since it supposes the divorce between democracy and truth, between politics and reason. The political discourse does not have reality as a reference, but prejudices, dogmas and to impose the Manichean vision of society, it invents evils and conspiracies to blame it on enemies. It was a conspiracy that made the Trump fraud possible. It was necessary to prevent the electoral robbery that those evildoers committed and, therefore, they stormed the Capitol. For that reason, Thimothy Snyder wrote in The New York Times that post-truth is pre-fascism.
Constructing an absurd and crude reality, based on lies and denials of reality, cancels any possibility of dialogue. The truth disappears; reason has no place in the political debate; The scientific evaluation of government programs has nothing to contribute, since post-truth (read any hoax that occurs to them, such as that honesty and scapulars help prevent the coronavirus, that López-Gatell is the best official of the world or that everything done in the neoliberal period was pure corruption) is the only basis for decisions and public policies.
How to establish a dialogue with President López Obrador and his collaborators, how and why to make public policy proposals if there are no references to define what is best for Mexico? What is the point of debating whether the arguments are despised because they come from resentful neoliberals or are eliminated not with reasons but with « other data », with prejudices or blatant lies, that is, with pure post-truth?
To the continuous and systematic attacks and disqualifications of the critical media and journalists, last week a new ominous sign was added for citizens to remain in the dark and its post-truth prevail: the INAI must be disappeared because it costs a lot and it has only been a cover of corruption; two more sentences of its post-truth, like the transparency of this government. The only information that citizens will have access to is that which the president graciously wants to grant us, as if it were not a constitutional right. If to this is added the decision of President López Obrador not to condemn the coup attempt by Trump and his followers, the concern for the future of our democracy should take on other dimensions.